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What Characteristics of Bullying, Bullying Victims, and Schools are Associated With Increased Reporting of Bullying to School Officials?

NCJ Number
Anthony Petrosino; Sarah Guckenburg; Jill Devoe; Thomas Hanson
Date Published
August 2010
45 pages
This study used nationally representative data from the 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey School Crime Supplement - a biennial survey of children ages 12-18 who attended school in the prior academic year - in order to examine which of 51 characteristics of bullying victimization, bullying victims, and bullying victims' school were associated with increased reporting of bullying to a teacher or other adult at the school.
Eight characteristics of bullying victimization were statistically associated with increased reporting: bullying that involved injury, physical threats, destruction of property, actual physical contact, greater frequency, multiple types, more than one location, and at least one occurrence on a school bus. Seven characteristics of bullying were not statistically significant in predicting the reporting of bullying: bullying that involved making fun of the victim or calling the victim names; excluding the victim; spreading rumors about the victim; forcing the victim to do things he/she did not want to do; and bullying that occurred in the school building, on school grounds, or somewhere else. Three characteristics of bullying victims were found to have statistically significant relationships with reporting: grade level, which was significantly and negatively associated with reporting; being involved in a fight during the school year; and being afraid of attack to the extent of avoiding certain school areas or activities. Victim characteristics that had no statistically significant association with reporting included gender, race/ethnicity, household region, and academic performance. No characteristic of bullying victims' schools had a statistically significant association with reporting. The authors advise that these results should be viewed as exploratory associations between the reporting of bullying and various students and school characteristics, not as confirmation of causal relationships. Suggestions for future research are offered. 14 tables, 2 figures, 67 references, and appended previous research on bullying and data source and methodology